How to bring back the blue jays and red breasted grosbeaks?

I am new to birding and would appreciate advice from more advanced birders. My introduction to birding started out of boredom during covid. I have to rely on a tree outside my home to place my bird feeders and am unable to instal a shepherd's hook on the ground for hanging the feeders. In the initial days I had great success with cardinals, finches, a pair of red breasted grosbeaks, and a blue jay visiting my feeder daily. Then came the squirrel and messed everything up. He brought his mate along and the two have wrecked havoc on my feeders. They monopolize the seeds and scare the birds away.

I was feeding them Wagner's Fruits and Nuts blend, peanuts, and Kaytee mealworm cake, all of which were instant hits. But the squirrels have an indefatigable appetite and finished EVERYTHING within minutes leaving nothing for the birds.

By the time I researched and figured out which squirrel buster bird feeder to buy, the grosbeaks and the blue jay had already left. Now I am left with feeding these expensive seed blends to the household sparrows, cowbirds, grackles, and starlings. Not ideal.

The other problem I am facing is that a pair of robins have built a nest on the tree. They are hyper aggressive and get into a fight with other birds including the blue jay.

My question is: what do I do about the robin's nest. I don't hear babies and assume that the eggs haven't hatched. I suspect that the blue jay won't return back if it gets so aggressively chased away by the robins. Is there anything I could do to bring the blu jay back? I don't want to destroy the robin's nest for obvious reasons.

What could I do to bring the grosbeaks and blue jay back? I have one of those feeders that close under the weight of the squirrels and it's worked well so far. I noticed that the birds arrived readily when I had strewn the seeds on the ground or a ground hopper feeder. But the squirrels!

I don't want to see the sparrows and grackles eat the Fruit and Nut blend that I have put out. They finished an entire tube of feed in two days. I don't mind it as long as more exotic birds visit and eat from the feeder.

Do you have any suggestions to bring the cardinals, blue jays, and grosbeaks back and keep them coming? They brought so much joy! I suspect they will forget all about my feeders and never return back! What would you have done if faced with this situation?

Thank you!

  • Are you aware you posted on a UK site?

    In the UK it is illegal to disturb nests. Elsewhere, it might not be, but it is unethical. I presume the robins you're referring to, and not wanting nesting, is American robins? My advice re what to do with them is nothing.

    Obviously, if you are feeding birds, you are immediately favouring more dominant species over others. If you want less dominant ones less disturbed, stopping feeding seems the option.

    I can empathise re sparrows. Again though, if you are putting food out, that comes with the territory.
  • Thank you for your reply. Yes I am aware that this is a UK based society and website but this is also a forum that has people with way more knowledge than me. So I decided to ask. The birds are American robins. I didn't plan to destroy their nests because it is unethical. I was simply seeking suggestions to ensure that other birds get a chance to feed too because it had been working wonderfully in the initial few days. A momentum was built and I had daily visitors (rose breasted grosbeak, northern cardinals, blue jays, black capped chickadees). Then the house sparrows, starlings, grackles, blackbirds, and squirrels descended and terrorized the other birds away. Birds need to see regularity in food otherwise they leave. I have 20 lbs of expensive bird seeds and am looking for suggestions to make this work instead of having just invasive species dominate the feeders.
  • In reply to kakatua:

    Ok. Unfortunately though, the answer in any country is likely to be the same. Dominant species will dominate at food sources. The closer together food sources are, e.g. supplementary feeding stations, the more the dominance shows itself and the more attracted to the area these (usually) generalist feeders become.

    Because your unwanted species vary in size from smallish upwards, it's not possible to use cages/'guardians' to cover food to only let in small species. It would reduce the competition a bit, keeping out the larger species. But this group incls ones you do want to attract. Catch22. Can't see how that can be solved, but let's see if someone can come up with something other than stopping feeding.
  • Hi

    As its late spring it's also possible that some of your birds are moving through and will nest elsewhere - farther north:

    Your feeders will pay dividends from September onwards :
    Have you checked your feeders very early in the morning? You might find you get different birds at that time of day;
    You can get anti squirrel domes that fit above hanging feeders - they work over here:
    Have you joined your local Audubon society ? They should be able to answer your Questions easily:
    You didn't say which state you are resident in .


    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • Been in the same situation. I’m not a pro and started feeding for the same reason as you. It’s illegal (& unethical) to remove a nest. Robins can be aggressive but if it was with a jay they were likely chasing it off with good reason- they’re part of the crow family & will eat babies.

    I have various birds in the spring who seem to have moved on, and now been replaced by others. If you’re worried about the cost of the food you bought, why not store it and get some cheaper seed for now?

    I’ve actually had feeders out since last December- it’s taken this long to get regular birds visiting. I’m just happy to have any birds. I WISH I had a robin, I’d love that!